How to Survive Failing a Class in College
Oh my, now you’ve done it. You failed a class in college and what you once knew as a normal human life is about to descend into the seventh layer of…just kidding. Listen, it happens. Countless freshmen and sophomores lose sight, or let things slip. Sometimes upperclassmen take on more than they can handle. In this post we’ll look at a step-by-step process you can use to effectively deal with a big fat F.
Step 1: Evaluate Overall GPA & Fin-Aid Impact
The moment you know you’re going to fail, or you happen to find out, the first thing you need to do is see how it will influence your overall GPA (big eye opener for most folks), and how it will impact financial aid.
It could have a big impact on students with scholarships and things. Or who are getting funding from private sources with certain expectations. Whatever the case is, the first step to damage control is knowing the extent of the damage.
- Is this a course you absolutely must have for your major or are there other alternatives that may be better suited to you?
- How is this going to change your schedule for next quarter/semester?
- Does this mean that summer school is in your future? Maybe so. That’s not such a bad thing, but it could put a crimp in any road trip plans.
Step 2: Evaluate Why You Think You Freaking Failed!
Be honest and upfront with yourself. In the halls it sounds like a prison yard – everyone’s innocent! There’s a massive conspiracy going on, or the professor is being a hard ass with unreasonable expectations.
Come on. Did you study as much as you should have or did you slack off and play video games with roomies instead? When you did poorly on the first couple tests, or struggled along why didn’t you join any study groups?
What’s going on with you? Is this behavior causing you to come close to failing other classes? Come to terms, honestly, with the real cause for your failing and then do this next thing…
Step 3: Schedule Appointment with Professor
If the class is one you have to take, then schedule an appointment with the professor. And, guess what, the reason your meeting with them is to apologize. That’s right! It’s your fault, not theirs. You’re going in there to say you’re sorry and you recognize the issue at hand. You’re ready and more than willing to correct things.
Then, after you’ve genuinely humbled yourself, ask the professor for any advice they could give you to do better next time.
- DO NOT ask for a change in grade, insinuating they were somehow wrong or unfair to you.
- DO NOT walk in there and start playing the world’s smallest violin. They’ve heard it all, and at the end of the day your problems aren’t theirs.
Most of the time this isn’t what they’ll expect. When they see how sorry and re-committed you are, they’ll tend to give you a little extra attention. Show professors you care, that you’re actually much better than this.
Step 4: Make a New Plan
Now, it’s time to fashion a new approach. One that will put you at the head of the class rather than the other end that you’re currently occupying. Bounce back like Rocky Balboa would!
There’s no lack of support for students that are having trouble. Study groups are everywhere, along with tutors and fellow students that would appreciate the opportunity to practice what they know by teaching you on the side.
- If you don’t have a set studying schedule in general, now’s the time genius.
- Start devoting some time to online research as well. These days with access to the internet and the on-campus library system, there’s no excuse.
- Do you need to re-prioritize things?
- Is work playing a role here?
You know the goal: turning that F into an A and bumping up the GPA. Set objectives, meet them and learn your lesson quickly. Avoiding problems is easier than solving them. So, find out how to avoid failing a college class even if you don’t like it!
Step 5: Don’t Hide It
Don’t try and hide the failed class from family or friends. Be upfront with people. When they see that you’ve learned your lesson and are making changes to better yourself, you’ll get tons of extra support that you just didn’t know was there before because you weren’t trying.
- Study harder and in visible places where fellow majors will see you.
- Start hanging out with the other “studiers” and the students that are taking their education seriously.
Step 6: Ace It!
No worries, it happens. Do what you have to do to be more than you seem to be. You can and will ace these simple college level tests when you commit. The adult world is just around the corner where failures can be absolutely devastating.